Disney Stores Go the Expansion Route

Walt Disney Co. isn’t letting the economy scare it out of an ambitious plan to revamp an expand its 340 stores, according to The New York Times. The Disney chain will rebrand its stores Imagination Park, making them more of an “experience” than just a shopping trip.

“The world does not need another place to sell Disney merchandise — this only works if it’s an experience,” Jim Fielding, president of Disney Stores Worldwide, told the Times. The chain is also looking to expand into high-profile locations and has signed a lease in Times Square.

The new stores will have movie theaters and other interactive components, and Apple is consulting with Disney on the effort, which should give you an idea of where this is going.

But will the stores have good sales? We would imagine that for the cost of the remodels they would have to sell an awful lot of product in an environment when everyone is cutting back.

And Disney has had retail problems before, selling the chain to The Children’s Place a few years ago and then buying it back after about 100 stores were closed.

Like Apple, though, Disney can probably better afford to experiment than others. Even after a decrease in revenue, sales in its most recent quarter were nearly $8.6 billion.. And there is less competition in the toy sector right now.

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8 Responses to “Disney Stores Go the Expansion Route”


  1. 1 Bill - Total Team Construction LLC October 14, 2009 at 8:55 am

    From a consumer standpoint, the shopping experience at the Disney store has been a destination stop at the mall for our family for years. Improving the experience will enhance trips to the store.

    Does anyone know if Disney completes the construction of the expansions in-house or do they hire local construction companies?

  2. 2 Carol Gilbert October 14, 2009 at 10:26 am

    The story confuses me since Disney closed its’ store in San Francisco’s Union Square. One of the premier retail locations in the world, Union Square has 10 million sq.ft. of retail and restaurants, 22,400 hotel rooms which translate to 10 to 11 million room nights per year, adjacency to the 5th busiest convention center on the planet, etc. etc.!

  3. 3 Alex October 14, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    well just because you have people coming to the store doesnt mean that they’re going to spend. The key will be to have goods in the store that people will purchase, or even snacks or food. It has to be like disneyland without the entrance fee, i suppose. But without the fee, how do you support the upfront cost of outfitting the store, and how to make a return on your investment? the ROI is a little sketchy at that point, since its very hard to predict number of people that will actually spend money in your store vs number of visitors. Thoughts?

  4. 4 alan barocas October 14, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    While the influence of Apple will enhance the shopping experience,it should be noted that Disney’s acquisition of the Marvel Comics brand and all the super heroes that are assoicated with it represent an opportunity for them to expand their customer base. The past and upcoming mega movies featuring Marvel super heroes will generate interest in a product assortment that has sustained itself over the years. it will be interesting to monitor their progress.

  5. 5 JIM October 14, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    They have an in-jouse construction dept…

  6. 6 Patricia-LF Wolf Contracting October 16, 2009 at 9:47 am

    I think it is a great idea. Got to spend money to make money…Reinventing your image in this economy is the key to survival. And hey…Disney brings out the child in all of us! KUDO’S Disney:)

  7. 7 C Jon October 20, 2009 at 8:28 am

    I love the Disney stores. They had closed the one in my area about two years ago. They do need to improve on the merchandise. Bring back those upscale items. Merchandise items that you can only purchase at Disney. Lithographs, plates, pins, etc. It has to be unique for people to come in and buy. Oh yeah, the pice has to be right. Not like the over priced theme parks.

  8. 8 Cameron Maness October 20, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    I’m sure every mall is beating their door down to try and get the updated “experience” into their centers. This could be a big shot in the arm for major retail landlords.


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